By Jon Maib
When it comes to off-roading, everyone has their particular vision of what that means. Some take stock rigs off-road and consider that off-roading, others build highly capable rigs while others like to take it totally different direcitons! If you have been following our Facebook or Instagram page, you would have seen that on Wednesdays, we like to post pics of odd off-road rigs and have named it 'Would You Wheel It Wednesday'. We have found some intersting rigs that people have designed and built, some more awesome than others, but nevertheless, the question remains the same; would you wheel it?

So we reached out to a guy we met at our 2017 Crawl 4 Christ event in Disney, OK. who has one of those unique rigs and were curious on what it takes to build a rig that is different than the normal Jeep, Toyota or such. Meet Les Vandever, who has build up this 1968 Baja VW bug for his off-road use. There is no question if Les would wheel this, we have seen it live, and he was following Jeep guys!

We asked Les what spiked his interest in building a VW bug:
"I bought my first VW as a $300 parts car from Craigslist, not sure if I was going to build a Baja or a trike. Once I got it running, the decision was made to build a Baja. I started getting used to what the VW could do over time and was amazed at how well it worked. I wore out that VW from a few years of abuse at Disney and other places, including trips up High Point and Progressive, down Waterfall, and all over the trails. I picked up the current ?68 VW as a street driven Baja a few years ago, after several years of wheeling Jeeps.

What modifications have been done to the VW to make it off-roadable?
"I have upgraded to a VW 'Thing' spindles and trailing arms on the front to gain approx. 3? lift while maintaining the stock ride. Have reindexed the rear torsion bars to raise the rear to match the front height. Added a Smittybilt 4K winch inside the nose of the VW and added LED lights. The main mod that I have on this one is a pair of 31/12.50-15? Super Swamper Boggers that help it climb hills that it shouldn?t be able to make it up. Next mod will be turning brakes to allow locking a rear tire that is spinning to put all power to the one with traction".

What is the hardest off-road situation you have done in the VW?
"The obstacle has since been dozed by the GRDA but, about 3 years ago, between Wailing Wall and Little Blue at Disney, OK. was a very steep climb that was usually only climbed with built rigs. I didn?t have near enough ground clearance but, when you put the front end up in the air a few feet, that issue goes away. A couple of friends pulled up on it and backed off without hitting it hard. I came around and hit it again"..

What would you do differently if you were to do it all over (if anything)?
"The current VW is a swing axle, which has the rear tires tilting in and out as the suspension works. I?d have been better off with one with IRS, with CV axles. This would allow swapping in a VW Bus transaxle for better gearing. The current ring and pinion has 4.12 gears, a 3 rib bus transaxle has 5.38?s".

What is your best off-road memory in the VW?
"It's hard to pick any single best memory, but probably on my 50th birthday, the start of 'Baja Disney', getting together with friends for a weekend of wheeling. We?ve continued to do this for the past few years, even if my car wasn?t always able to make it. This year, a steel brake line failed the day before we were leaving for Disney and a buddy had me drive his. I took my Boggers and ran them on it. The car worked awesome, it was using the bus transaxle and turned the Boggers much better than my car does".

As you can see, Les has no problems with wheeling his classic VW Baja bug. It works exactly for what he needs and wants, and likes the challenges it brings. So the question is, WOULD YOU WHEEL IT??? We know we would!

Thanks Les for sharing your story with us and this cool off-road rig!